2023 Honda BR-V: Simple gets the job done
Honda, the Japanese automaker is renowned for reliability alongside their VTEC and i-VTEC engines. Honda has officially been in Bangladesh for quite some time now, and they have launched many popular cars such as Civic, Accord, CR-V and HR-V that successfully caught the market quite fast. Last year, Honda released the second generation of the Honda BR-V in the Indonesian market and later this year in Thailand.
For the Indonesian market, BR-V is offered in 3 grades: S, E and Prestige, with Prestige being the highest grade and the only grade that gives an option of Honda Sensing - an active safety system with LaneWatch. For the market in Thailand, they offered 2 grades: E and EL, with both having Honda Sensing as a standard feature. In Bangladesh, Honda is also bringing their top-of-the-line Prestige pack from Indonesia of the all-new 2023 BR-V. Last week, we had the pleasure to test drive the latest Honda 2023 BR-V: here are our thoughts.
With a single glance, you can notice that the front of the 2023 BR-V looks a lot like the Honda CR-V and HR-V, especially with their LED headlight design. The stylish daytime running light does not look too stylish during the day, but the appeal starts getting noticeable in the late afternoon.
The BR-V is a mid-size crossover with a dimension of 4490 mm x 1780 mm x 1685 mm, ground clearance of 210mm and a wheelbase of 2700mm that's bigger than the HR-V but not as big as the CR-V. Coming to the back, the curved LED taillight design and the slanted rear windshield with a spoiler on top look very similar to the new HR-V.
Underneath the left mirror, there's a camera. Whenever you turn on the left turning signal, the view from the camera appears on the display. The 17-inch rims in the new BR-V are bigger than the last generation BR-V, giving it more of an SUV kind of look. The overall body follows a simple design but the paint is what makes it enticing. The paint options come in four colours: crystal black pearl, modern steel metallic, lunar silver metallic and premium opal white pearl.
The interior of the Honda BRV is spacious with a 5+2 cabin seat arrangement, where both the second-row and third-row seats can be folded to give about 223 litres to store your belongings. Although most of the interior panels are made of plastic, the seats come in leather, which is comfortable to sit on, including the third-row seats, which can fit two people without getting too tight at the back. More bits that come in leather are the steering wheel, shift knob and a couple of trim pieces on the centre console above the glove box.
In terms of practicality and use of space, Honda does an amazing job with a 12V power outlet in all the rows, and cup holders and pockets to store stuff. The climate control is great in the BRV with dual air conditioning dedicated to the back seats where the passengers at the back can also control the fan speed independently. The infotainment, on the other hand, comes with a 7-inch touchscreen with basic hands-free calling and music and can connect proprietarily with Honda's app but unfortunately, it does not come with Apple CarPlay or AndroidAuto.
Driving the BR-V
Overall, driving the BR-V felt good. Visibility is great in the car with the sitting position being slightly elevated, which enables the driver to see over the bonnet. The tachymeters are stock metres with a 4-inch TFT display in the middle, which shows miscellaneous information about the car. The windows are big which enables a lot of natural light inside the cabin. The steering of the BR-V is light with not much feedback, which makes it comfortable to push traffic while manoeuvring quickly when switching lanes.
When indicators are on, cameras under the side mirrors also assist the driver by showing more of the blind spot on each side, on the infotainment screen. The suspension is quite comfortable as well. The car takes bumps easily but might feel a bit wobbly with lesser weight, as the suspension was tuned to sit seven passengers at once. Other than that, cruise control, lane assist and automatic braking come standard with the car.
When it comes to the spec sheet, like most new Hondas, this too has a 1.5-litre engine. But, unlike other Hondas, this is the only available engine. It is the same engine as the HR-V - a naturally aspirated four-cylinder 1.5-litre i-VEC engine that produces 121 PS power at 6000 rpm, and 145 nm torque at 4600 rpm. It also has a CVT gearbox which drives the front wheels, making it a front-wheel drive car.
In the front, the car has a 15-inch ventilated disc and in the rear a 220mm drum brake, which is quite unusual for a car this size. It has all the standard features like ABS and EPS, as well as additional features like adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation braking system and lane-keeping assist.
Our test mule was a Lunar Silver Metallic BR-V, which, like every other BR-V that Honda Bangladesh brings, was a prestige trim. Our first impression of the car is that it is very simple in every aspect, with a hint of modern technology. After driving it, we realised a couple of things. Even though the car has drum brakes in the rear, the brakes are still really good. The car feels very smooth to drive, and the noise isolation is decent.
When in sport mode, the gears can be manually changed with paddle shifters. Even in sport mode and paddle shifters, it doesn't feel that fast. Though it rev matches while downshifting, it does not feel that good for highway overtaking, but good for highway cruising. The suspension is not as good as the one Civic has but it isn't that bad either. We didn't feel much in potholes, it was quite comfortable.
The mileage we got in our short test drive was between 10-11, of course, that would decrease a bit under heavy traffic. 2023 Honda BR-V is priced at Tk. 40 lakh (March 2023 Update) in the local market. At the end of the day, it's a very good car with the right blend of being smooth, spacious and minimalistic.
Photos: Abrar Shareque Khan